Flip through your Rolodex or digital address book and take note of how many employees of large companies have custom e-mail addresses. Has anyone from a large corporation ever contacted you with an e-mail address ending with @verizon.net? Probably not. Just like a physical address in a premium location says something about a business, so does an e-mail address. But unlike fancy real estate, it doesn’t take a large budget to support a custom e-mail address.
Even if you are an entrepreneur or have a small business, you can make your e-mail a part of your marketing effort and brand identity with e-mail addresses that match your site name. Nothing screams “small time” like an e-mail address with your personal or business name @aol.com, @hotmail.com, @gmail.com, @netvision.net.il, or other free e-mail providers.
- An e-mail of [email protected] does not inspire a whole lot of confidence. Using your website’s domain name as the email extension looks more professional and promotes an image of legitimacy because setting it up requires verifying your domain.
- Each e-mail is a chance to promote your brand with a custom domain name extension is a great way to bring attention to your brand. In fact, it’s one of the most inexpensive ways you could possibly advertise!
- Custom e-mail accounts increase your control. From attachment file sizes to number of accounts, the flexibility of hosting e-mail directly is far superior to anything offered by free online e-mail accounts.
To be fair, many people won’t dismiss your professionalism or contents of your e-mail just because of your e-mail address extension, but it’s the type of flourish that can show you care about your brand and image, much like keeping a clean office does, or using custom stationary instead of regular computer paper.
How much will these custom e-mail addresses cost?
For a small business, a custom e-mail address @yourdomain.com may cost you nothing at all. The mail service provider that I trust the most is Gmail, and I’m not alone. Many individuals and businesses set up free @gmail accounts because:
- You can access it from any computer or mobile browser
- It comes with over 7 gigabytes of storage, and this will grow as time goes on (you can also buy more storage very cheaply)
- It has an integrated calendar
- It has an excellent spam filter
But not many businesses realize that GMail also offers integration with custom e-mail addresses. You can receive all of the benefits listed above @yourdomain.com with Google Apps. If you’re a small businesses that only requires 10 or fewer e-mail accounts or an educational institution, you can set it up for free. Large businesses are charged $5 per month per account or $50 per account per year.
In addition to the regular GMail benefits, businesses who integrate Google Apps in order to set up their e-mail accounts receive access to a list of additional features, including contact and document sharing.
In order to set up and verify your Google Apps account for your business, you’ll need access to your web host. Deployment steps and complexity vary with the size of your business. Google provides ample resources for setting up your custom e-mail address, but if you don’t have the time or know how, you can hire a professional like myself to set you up for a one-time fee. Don’t let anyone who sets up your GMail charge more than that $5 per month per account!
How to Receive and Manage E-mail from a Custom Domain
There are several options for using your new custom e-mail. The most basic way is to use webmail, accessing your e-mail directly through your web browser at gmail.com.
Another option is to use a forwarder, which will automatically send along any email received at your custom address to another address. This could mean setting up [email protected] to forward to your existing hotmail or gmail account. Forwarders are very easy to set up, but the downside is that by default, if you reply to any of this email, the reply will come from your old e-mail address instead of your website’s email address. GMail provides the option of letting you incorporate multiple accounts you own and to select which account to send a reply on behalf of from a dropdown menu.
Lastly, you can also set up your dedicated e-mail software (i.e. Outlook Express, Mac Mail) to receive messages sent to your custom e-mail account.
Contact me about setting up an e-mail address at your domain and increase your online marketing efforts with each e-mail!